This is a very difficult week. Witnessing police brutality and civil unrest layered on top of the fear, uncertainty and loss surrounding the global pandemic feels almost unbearable for me, and I am in a relatively comfortable situation of great safety.
Thanks to the most recent 30 x 30 challenge, at least I’m spending some focused and productive time on my genealogy research. That is a wonderful respite from the worry. One of the things I love most about genealogy research is learning about my ancestors’ lives and what they experienced. That feels particularly useful right now.
Going through this current time of difficulty (which for me in my privileged life has led to emotional, but not physical, pain) makes me feel even closer to my ancestors. When I research my Civil War soldier ancestors and their families, for instance, it’s hard to imagine what they went through. A country divided in war is virtually incomprehensible.
I don’t know how my ancestors who lived during that time bore the emotional pain and physical difficulties of the Civil War (as well as the Antebellum and Reconstruction eras). But those who survived did bear it. They had to. And I take strength in that.
Layered on top of all of this is the knowledge that systems of oppression benefited my white ancestors, even when their lives were difficult. This is particularly informative right now in the context of the civil unrest. I know these systems have benefited me as well, even if I don’t consciously participate in them.
I will continue with my daily genealogy research as I look for ways to feel less helpless and more useful right now. I am grateful for the solace it provides.